BOSTON (BP)–The legal battle over same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts may not be over.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has granted oral arguments in a case that could result in a halt to the issuance of marriage licenses to homosexual couples. The court told lawyers Feb. 10 that it will hear an appeal that seeks to have the court’s historic same-sex “marriage” decision put on hold until a constitutional amendment process is complete.
Oral arguments will take place in early April.
The case involves C. Joseph Doyle, the executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, who wants the high court to stay its decision — thus halting the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He is being represented by the pro-family legal organization Thomas More Law Center.
“It was really a long shot,” Robert Muise, a trial attorney for Thomas More, told Baptist Press. “… It’s remarkable that they granted oral arguments, and we’re going to have this opportunity. That’s all we can ask for.”
The high court issued its 4-3 decision legalizing same-sex “marriage” in November 2003, although it didn’t go into effect until May 17, 2004. In the weeks leading up to that date Doyle petitioned a single justice on the court to stay the ruling but was denied. He then requested an expedited appeal but was again denied. The court did, however, allow the case to continue on a normal schedule, and Feb. 10 granted the appeal.
Unlike some states, Massachusetts’ constitutional amendment process is lengthy, requiring an amendment to pass in two consecutive legislative sessions before going to the voters. Early last year the legislature completed the first step, passing an amendment that would ban same-sex “marriage” while legalizing civil unions. It needs to pass another session before it goes to the voters, which would be 2006 at the earliest.
“We’re operating under the premise that the convention has the support and that there will be a vote in 2006,” Muise said. “… What is going to become of these people who are granted licenses when the Constitution is changed? That’s why this thing needs a stay until the constitutional process runs its course.”
Homosexual activists brushed off suggestions that the court was re-thinking its decision.
“The Doyle case represents perhaps the final loose end that requires clean-up in the aftermath of the desperate efforts to undermine the Goodridge decision,” Gary Buseck of the legal organization Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders said in a statement. GLAD brought the initial lawsuit that led to same-sex “marriage” legalization.
“Goodridge is and remains the law of the Commonwealth, and there is absolutely no reason to expect that will change,” he added.
Kristian Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, called the court’s announcement Feb. 10 a “pleasant surprise.”
“We believe that the Supreme Judicial Court overstepped its authority and ultimately took away due process from the citizens as required by the Constitution,” he told Baptist Press. “If the Constitution is going to be changed … the people must vote on this decision.”
The Boston Globe reported Feb. 10 that Massachusetts Senate President Robert E. Travaglini has delayed the second vote on the amendment until this fall. Although its passage is up in the air, a same-sex “marriage” lobbyist told the newspaper, “[Travaglini] said there will definitely be a vote.”
The case is Doyle v. Goodridge.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage